I did not mean to share the last post that was accidentally sent out and I cannot delete it if you subscribed via email! It was meant as a private journal post for another anonymous blog I do. Please ignore! Just random inner ramblings:). Colour me embarassed 😳
Writing this post so that I can meet all of February goals:)
And here are my goals so far for March:
December is half way over and I still haven’t shared our “Dexter Family Advent Calendar of Holiday Experiences” (that’s a mouthful)! What can I say? We have been too busy having fun doing all of the fun activities with Ben.
Here’s the complete list:). 👍= success!
1. Skate date at Cottonwood Lake 👍
2. Fetch a tree in the woods 👍
3. Decorate Christmas tree 🎄👍
4. Bake and decorate shortbread cookies for friends and the Food Cupboard 👍
5. Dance in front of the tree to Christmas music 👍
6. Take Ben to Whitewater Ski Hill and strap on his first skis 👍
7. Photo with Santa Clause 🎅👍
8. Take Ben cross-country skiing in the Chariot 🎿👍
9. Watch SNL Holiday Special and lighting of tree in Rockefeller Centre 👍
10. Build Ben’s first snowman and make tiny snow angels ⛄️👍
11. Elf Walk on Baker Street 👍
12. Holiday Train at Lakeside Park 👍
13. Snowy walk along the waterfront ❄️👍
14. Make homemade holiday decorations and Christmas cards 👍
15. Have friends over for Rum and Eggnog’s and holiday goodies.
16. Skate at Lion’s Park outdoor skating rink or public skating depending on weather
17. Night time cross-country skiing on tracks with Ben in backpack using headlamp
18. Family ski tour (very green run on the way to ski hill).
19. Neighbourhood walk to enjoy the Christmas lights.
20. Share favourite memories of holidays’ passed.
21. Make ornaments out of Ben’s Santa photos.
22. Facetime Christmas Carol Sing-along with the East Coast Dexter’s.
23. Family day at the ski hill–take Ben down the bunny hill on his skis.
24. Mum and Dad Christmas puppet show for Ben.
So far, we have been having a phenomenal time enjoying so many holiday experiences together, rather than consuming, consuming, consuming. It’s been just wonderful and really awakens the true meaning of Christmastime for me: time spent with loved ones, enjoying all of the gifts of the season that are not found in shopping malls. A beautiful Dexter tradition that we plan to keep up for the years to come.
Here are a few photos, in no particular order, of our holiday activities thus far:
Baking & decorating shortbread cookies.
I have had one of the best Decembers I can recall and I am so looking forward to what the next half of the month has to bring! This afternoon we attempted to go public skating with Ben (in his stroller) but they changed the schedule at the last minute and there was a hockey game going on, so we improvised and strolled Baker Street to enjoy some window shopping as the snow fell. Festive nonetheless! We are having our dear friends and their baby girl for supper tonight because joy is best shared:).
I hope you are enjoying lots of wonderful holiday experiences. Happy holidays from our family to yours. XOX
A simple shift in perspective can change your whole day.
As I peeled my eyes apart and stumbled towards the coffee pot this morning, I was greeted by this wintry scene.
My first reaction, honestly?
But then I caught myself (which is happening more and more quickly these days and becoming almost automatic). I reminded myself that my experience is as good or as bad as I make it out to be. I can choose a good day or a not-so-good day.
How liberating, self-empowering, and confidence building to remember that we are not controlled by external circumstances! This realization feels better than a summer’s day at the beach. Our internal environment is everything. The best part? You and you alone have control over your internal environment. No one and nothing else. No, really. It took me awhile to get this, but I’m starting to understand and apply this on a deep level.
With this in mind, I let go of my need to control the day and chose to flow with the stream rather than struggle against the current. The stream was a gorgeous winter’s day. Could I hike or go for a run as easily as I used to? No. But guess what I could do?
Build a snowman with my son.
Dig out my winter gear to get pumped for the new season and all of the activities Ben, daddy, and I can share together.
After a coffee date with my mum and girlfriend Diana, I had loads of energy and enjoyed an awesome workout on my covered deck home-gym. Here is my wobble board that I balance on and do weights, plus a yoga mat for poses and stretches.
Having my road-bike set up on a trainer outside is rocking my socks off. I love being able to look out at the lake and cycle in my tank top or with a toque and gloves on, while Ben naps and I watch his baby monitor. Super cool.
I’m really looking forward to getting my craft-on this evening, making our 24 Days of Dexter Christmas Experiences advent calendar. We have already done a couple from the list (skiing and skating) with Ben. I will share the rest of our list when I finish it up!
This is going to my theme this winter, what about you?
Lastly–here is a link to my current favourite Christmas song. Ben and I danced around the living room this morning and he absolutely would not stop smiling!
Current Fav Christmas Tune
Confession: I have been ridiculously bad with money for the majority of my adult life.
I was given anything I needed growing up and also taught skills with money, yet I didn’t seem to really grasp the concept of how critical it is to be wise when it comes to one’s finances until very recently. I suppose, as with anything in life, it takes time and personal experience in order to really learn the value.
When I speak of the value of money, I am not talking about how it is the most important thing in life–it’s not.
What is important to me?
Family, friendship, memorable experiences and helping others. The East Coast Dexter Clan have taught me how important family and friendship are and I will be forever grateful for having these wonderful folks come into my life. Not only have I been able to enjoy a relationship with them, but I’ve also been able to enjoy my own family and friends more. These are the values I hope to instil in Ben.
So, if money isn’t what matters, then why is being smart with it important?
It’s simple–having the freedom to make decisions based on what you want to do with your life, and having the time and resources available to enjoy quality experiences with friends and family requires money. Helping others who are worse off requires money.
Being on maternity leave this past year has afforded me the opportunity to realize just how much I value freedom and making my own decisions about how to spend my day, as well as the ability to enjoy time with my friends and family.
I am fortunate to have a wonderful job, and I do intend on making meaningful connections with my students when I return and creating a positive environment at my place of employment; yet I have become more acutely aware of how I will have less freedom to do what I want with my family if I continue to spend right into the pockets of the big corporations who are preying on us all.
I’ve been a victim but I intend to be less of one beginning slowly, starting now. I do not want to be as wasteful as I have in the past, spending my family’s hard-earned money needlessly, carelessly, and on the wrong things.
Where do I want my money to go?
I want to have money to spend on sharing experiences with loved ones and giving to those who are less fortunate. I don’t want to waste it on stuff. I don’t want Ben to grow up accumulating things.
A ton of presents under the tree with the accompanying packaging and waste just feels really wrong to me, and more and more. It’s reaching the level where I turn on the TV and see the holiday commercials and find it sickening. Just because everyone else is doing something and it seems normal doesn’t mean it is: I think the Christmas Consumerism is complete and utter insanity and I know I am not alone.
People all over are waking up to the ridiculousness of it, and at times like Christmas it is a real wake up call to how we overspend not just during the holidays but throughout the year.
Call me cheap or uncaring, but that’s not my intention. I do want to spend money where it’s going to contribute to something shared, meaningful, and memorable. Toys and stuff, no thanks. My friend was laughing about how her son received a big birthday gift yet all he wanted to do was play in the box.
This is hardly my own brilliance or a novel idea. More and more, people are beginning to understand this and share ideas on social media that lean towards the philosophy of downsizing: spending less and enjoying more quality time doing simpler things.
After all, disease, depression, anxiety, obesity, and unhappiness of many varieties are higher in North America than in many other poorer parts of the world. CLEARLY, WHAT WE ARE DOING IS NOT WORKING! STUFF IS NOT MAKING US ANY HAPPIER! It’s making us work harder and live unhealthy, high stress, anxious, addicted lives in order to buy more of what’s not making us happy, while the rich corporations are laughing all the way to the bank.
In my opinion, we really have no business spending money that we don’t have. Families in debt (mine included), towns in debt, countries in debt–until we are all debt-free and also able to help the starving and oppressed, it really seems absolutely ridiculous and downright unintelligent to be spending money that we don’t have!
I am taking responsibility for my own spending. if you like to spend money, float your boat, just don’t expect me to do the same. I won’t jump on a sinking ship.
Don’t get me wrong, I have an iPhone, a few nice clothes, skis, and many other creature comforts. We don’t drive expensive vehicles (our 1990 rusted out Honda Accord is driven with pride, and our “brand new” vehicle is still a ’99). I don’t buy the best of everything. I love Lululemon clothing but I started selling my old Lulu online before I allow myself to buy a few new items. I only buy a couple of Lulu items per year and that is the most expensive clothes shopping I do.
However, I do have a big diamond ring and other jewellery, and even that is starting to feel like, “Why”? At least clothes keep us warm. I do appreciate the sentiment behind gifts; however, as I stated above, it just feels like the wrong thing to do in this economic climate and with the all of the problems in the world.
Am I still a part of the consumer culture I am disparaging? Absolutely. That doesn’t mean I can’t do my best to make a change, within my own small sphere of control. I intend to keep this in mind as I spend and save money over the decades to come. Will I do this perfectly? Definitely not, but I will do better.
Sure, I haven’t been the smartest for the last fifteen years, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start now. It’s never too late.
On that note, Justin and I have decided to create a “Dexter Family Experiences” Advent Calendar. We are going to brainstorm 24 different fun experiences that we can do together as a family throughout the month of December and choose one for each day.
For example, dancing to Christmas music with Ben, going for a snowy walk in the woods to fetch a Christmas tree, watching a Christmas movie, going for a walk to see the neighbourhood lights, building a snowman, having Facetime dates with our East Coast family, just to name a few. We are going to spread out the joy of holidays throughout the month instead of focusing on one day. Who wants to join me?
In the past, when I have tried to overhaul any aspect of my life, I usually end up giving up because I want things to change quickly and I put too much pressure on myself to “go big or go home”. I have found success lately in just changing a few simple things–in essence, making change easy and do-able. These small things will eventually lead to big things.
Here are a few things that I am doing lately to be wiser with money.
First off, I am trying to do things with my family that are free such as hiking, outdoor skating, going for walks, sleeping in a back-country cabin with friends, packing a lunch, making a dinner together at home, dancing with Ben in the living room, are all fun and cheap things we have done recently.
Also, Justin lights awesome and cozy winter fires daily in order to cut down on heating bills. I just got a tutorial on lighting my own fires on Youtube. I am also turning out lights when I leave rooms or leave the house. Simple but this will add up over the years.
Secondly, I am going to track our spending for a month in order to see just how much we spend in each area, which may motivate us to make a few more tweaks to slow down our spending. I just grabbed a few envelopes and Justin and I will save our receipts for the next month.
I’m also going to keep track of our expenses on a spreadsheet. I am starting small and easy by putting our receipts in envelopes, and then I will enter them into this Excel spreadsheet.
Historically, I have given up on achieving certain goals because I made them too difficult. By breaking up the goal of being more fiscally responsible into manageable chunks, I feel good about my ability to do “just a little better”. Eventually, this “little better” will become “much better”, and I feel really right about doing this for my family. If I start now, my dream of being money wise will be a reality.
Something really cool happened round these parts: Cottonwood Lake froze before it snowed, allowing us to enjoy a
quintessential winter experience!
In all my years of growing up in the Kootenays, I have never skated on Cottonwood Lake and now Benji’s done a few twirly birds on the frozen pond with his little girlfriend Riley at the ripe ole age of one! What a pair–notice the hockey sticks? Classic Canadian Kids right here:)
I actually feel like a legitimate “mountain mumma” when I do activities like this with my little man and friends. Cutie pies Danielle and Riley inspired us–they are “pond regulars”, hitting the ice four times this week! Go girls!
Ben and I were craving something hot to warm the cockles but I didn’t have any hot chocolate a la casa, so we took the easy route and allowed Starbucks to whip us up a tasty treat. Mmmmm.
Benji was all tuckered out and wound down before his “nap” with a nice cuddle session with his favourite old school stuffies from Uncle TMitch.
I place “nap” in quotations because little mister has been extra awake these days and not wanting to nap much at all. Just when I was getting used to a long morning and a long afternoon nap, he decided to cut them both?! Good thing he’s fun to chill with and I adore his company:). I mean, look at that smile.
We are hoping to go skating with daddy at least once before the snow falls this weekend. There was even a nice bonfire going and a few keen folk out enjoying the open air skate, Danielle and Miss Riley being the cutest of course.
I love these winter activities as they are what keeps me going during the short, chilly days.
Typically, I am not a huge winter fan but I am going to “Gerry it” and focus on all of the positives and winter-only activities: Ben’s first snowman, his first cross-country ski (I have a Chariot with a ski attachment), and of course, his first downhill ski (we have a pair of mini-skis and he will ride down the mountain between my legs).
Hey, I’m actually starting to get my stoke on for this whole winter thing! ⛄❄⛄❄ After all, everything is more fun with this little stud by my side.
What a weekend!
Ben, Justin and I had a really wonderful time with friends and family this weekend celebrating Ben’s first year.
My little buddy and I started out by sampling a pre-party cupcake followed by a bubble bath before donning our party garb.
Ben felt extra special because he didnt just have one birthday cake but TWO whole cakes plus a dozen cupcakes. His mumma had a great time making them!
Ben was fascinated by the glowing candles and all of the people singing him Happy Birthday.
One of Ben’s favourite gifts was his Superman cape which he wore for the rest of the night. His cousin Lauren loves to carry “her baby” everywhere! It doesn’t look all that comfortable but Ben never seems to mind being yanked around.
What a lucky boy with these sweet girls to dote on him.
My big brother and I. 💙 This is special because we just reunited after not speaking for four years, a few months after Ben was born.
After a super fun birthday party, we kept the weekend fun going by taking Ben on his first snowmobiling adventure to spend the night at Rover cabin. It was a gorgeous day and we had a blast! I even got my party on after Ben went to bed, say what?! Fun times.
We finished up B’s big birthday bonanza with some play time at the park.
Special shout out to the best dad this little boy could ask for and a wonderful husband who has supported me through so much.
It has been such a privilege to spend the past year with these two handsome men.
Image Posted on Updated on
Thank you for coming into my life. The day you arrived last year was the happiest I have known. I loved you so much the instant I saw you, held you in my arms, and heard your sweet tiny squawks.
I had no idea how much that love would grow over the following year and the adventures we would have together. I didn’t know yet just how deep my love could go. Thank you for showing me that, and by cracking open my heart–a heart that had been sealed shut for a long, long time.
Because of the love created by your entry into my life, I have been able to give and receive love much, much more freely and abundantly from all. This is the biggest gift of many that you have brought to my life. I cannot imagine life without you and I am so thankful for your love. You really do light up my life. You are the definition of my joy and my reason for being. When I hear a love song on the radio, no longer do I think of romantic love (sorry, daddy–I love you too, deeply, but Ben has taken over top spot in both of our hearts), but I think of YOU, sweet boy.
You are the best hiking and walking partner, so much fun to play with at the beach and go to the swimming pool with. Daddy and I couldn’t ask for a better traveling companion–you were an absolute champion as we traveled to Victoria and to the East Coast this summer. You have been so portable and easy. We take you to dinner parties all the time and put you down to sleep wherever we are. You have slept in tents and hotel rooms, on the plane, and in Jumbo Cabin, all so easily. You really are THE MAN, Benji!
We are taking you on a special snowmobiling cabin trip for your birthday weekend and I know you will love that too! We can hardly wait to take you skiing this year! You already “skied” down on daddy’s back last winter and have been on lots of fishing adventures with daddy and friends–starting when you were three months old in the middle of winter! You are already the epitome of an outdoor Kootenay Kid, and I couldn’t be prouder. Also, you have just started signing back to me when you are hungry! I love these early communications which are just deepening our bond. I also speak French to you and hope that you will pick that up a little as well! I think you understand a lot more than we give you credit for. I would love to know what you are thinking.
You started walking at exactly eleven months and now you are running! When you fall down, you rarely cry and I make sure to let you figure it out before I rush to your rescue, although I want to every single time, I make a concerted effort to help you become a self-sufficient little man.
We have had such fun this year, singing songs at Mothergoose, going to mum and baby yoga, swimming lessons and loads of mum and baby get togethers, park dates, beach dates, hikes and walks. You are my little buddy.
You have been so much fun, and so easy going. Your giggle makes my heart smile hard.
Daddy and I love you to the moon and back. I have had so many comments over the year that others would love to have a baby if they could be guaranteed a “Benji”–that’s how truly awesome you are! When other mums talk of “terrible teething” or sleep issues, I really can’t relate. I have to bite my tongue because you have just been such little sweetie pie. Of course, I would love you just as much if you were more “spirited” but I do believe you came into our lives to show us how to be a little more mellow, more present, and more fun. For this gift and o many, many more, I thank you my one-year-old baby boy from the bottom of my ever-growing heart.
I’m not sad this year is over–I am glad that it happened. We are celebrating you with your first party tonight! I got really excited and made you a puppy dog cake, another cake for you to play with, as well as a dozen cupcakes! I have waited my entire life to make my child’s first birthday cake and today is that day. I have been crying tears of happiness this morning which I didn’t even expect, I am just so thankful for you.
I was turning on the music in preparation for tonight’s shindig, and you started dancing–how fitting for your first birthday!
It’s a perfectly gorgeous, sunny day, just as it was on this day last year when daddy had to cancel his fishing trip because my water had broke at one am the night before. At 11:43 pm you came into our lives. What a moment I will never forget. You can watch it on video one day if you want! ha!
Since it’s so sunny and beautiful, we are going to celebrate with what else–a hike to Pulpit!
I love you forever.
This post follows up my dear friend Shannon’s guest pregnancy post.
When we last left off, Shanns was just preparing her big Gender Reveal Party, full of all kinds of fun activities for the guests to enjoy.
After the guests had cast their votes and chosen either a blue tie or a pink bow, it was time for the giant balloon pop!
Shannon’s sister used a syringe to inject the oversized balloon with the appropriate colour of tissue paper.
If you could see the video of the balloon pop and Shannon’s reaction to the showering of pink tissue paper, you would know that she CLEARLY had a gender preference. To say her and Mike are happy would be putting it very mildly!
I will leave you with this picture of Shannon and one of her (and my) longtime BFFs, Lindsey. I have many photos of the two of them from high school, college, and all three of our weddings, but never did I expect them to be ripe with child together…or maybe I did?
Once upon a time, this wouldn’t have seemed unlikely but then the twists and turns of life occurred and it didn’t seem to be in the cards. To tell you the truth, there were times when I questioned if things would ever work out for my Shanns.
It’s funny how things work out: I really feel like the timing is perfect and not-so-coincidental after all. It was meant to be, and a fairy tale ending is to be had, after all. The years of waiting and anticipation and patience while others had their turn only makes it that much sweeter now that it’s here.
Shannon’s pregnancy, and the fact that it’s occurring simultaneously to Lindsey’s, really makes me think of one of my favourite quotes by John Lennon: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
I know there were times over the years where Shannon doubted that things would work out for her; yet in retrospect I am certain she knows everything played out in perfect divine timing.
Seriously, how cute are they? I cannot wait to be the proud and lucky auntie of these soon-to-be new little loves. Ben is going to have his pick of adorable little ladies!
When Jaclyn first asked me if I would like to do a guest post about my pregnancy I thought it would be a piece of cake. However, the more I thought about putting pen to paper on this topic, the more trouble I had getting started.
Since many of you don’t know who I am or anything about my background, I couldn’t settle on what was really important for me to say. In the end, I figured that the best place to begin is always with the truth. Right?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been preparing myself to be a Mother. As a little girl, my mother would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Instead of being a smart, empowered woman and saying something ambitious like a lawyer or an astronaut, without fail I simply and eagerly said, “A mommy.” (“Hi, my name is Shannon, and I’m an old fashioned gal!”)
I never wavered from this track, not once, not ever. Don’t get me wrong, I did make my Big Grown-Up Girl career choices, and valued my education and independence. But I had a persistent sense that, no matter the career, my life simply wasn’t going to officially start until I had my first baby.
Of great pleasure and surprise to me was how fulfilling my life has indeed managed to be up until this current point today at 34 years old, when I’m staring down the barrel of everything that little girl ever wanted.
Despite my never having originally planned on living to my current ripe old age as a childless bachelorette, I had indeed enjoyed and savoured the ride, learning invaluable lessons about myself, never regretting a moment of it.
And of course just when I really settled into the idea that I was a Whole and Complete Shannon, and that I was okay if my life turned out entirely different than I had originally planned, it all just kind of fell together. (Hence, I met and married the man of my dreams.)
“I can’t believe it’s my turn!!!” was the pinch-me feeling of the day from the moment Mike and I got engaged until our gorgeous and perfect-for-us wedding on June 30th, 2013.
Now, Mike and I knew that with our current age, optimistically steady finances and planned life trajectory, we wanted to start on that family sooner rather than later. Thus, we earmarked the Wedding Night as our official time to “start trying”. I did my legwork beforehand, mind you. Despite having had some difficulty with regulating my cycle prior to the wedding over a period of ten months, and even at times with ovulating at all, we had high hopes that things would go our way eventually.
And they did, which is apparently what Honeymoons are for!!! Yup. By the time Mike and I were halfway through our blissful Jamaican Honeymoon, we were all knocked up. July 10th was apparently the lucky day it all fell into place, and nobody was more surprised than us that it actually worked! THE FIRST ROUND!!
I’m finally pregnant, which I’ve dreamed about for decades, and how do I feel?? Guilty, to start. I have more than a handful of people who are close to me that struggled for years with the agony of infertility. (A sister and my dear friend Jaclyn, for starters.) Despite the fact that these people have demonstrated more joy over my pregnancy than anybody else and are endlessly supportive and excited for me, I still allow myself to feel shamefaced that I had an easy time of it. Not only that, but I have guilt over managing to completely escape the curse of morning sickness. Damn me and my lucky ways! I should be ashamed of myself! *sigh*
After the exciting moment when I found out I was pregnant for the first time, it came as a big shocker to me that I also had thoughts of “What have we DONE?!? Are we ready for this? Am I truly willing to give up my wonderful freedom to do whatever I please??” I mean, after all those years of yearning for children of my own, it is definitely shocking when my mind decides to balk at the idea of responsibility and no longer having the independence to be as selfish as I want to, even though I have been endlessly bored and left feeling empty by that very same lack of restrictions for years. Go figure.
The biggest adjustment for me thus far has been mentally embracing the bodily changes. It ain’t easy observing helplessly as the body I slaved over for years in an endless pursuit of optimal health and fitness stretches and morphs into an expanding balloon of aches, pains, lumps, bumps, and boobs that are foreign to me. I mean, I’ve gone from my best-of-all-time-honeymoon-ready-body…
…in seemingly no time flat.
And the saddest part is, I’ve actually almost shed tears over the thought that I can’t even begin to guess what kind of body I will be left with post-child(ren). I’m slapped with the reality that I have no friggin’ idea where my familiar curves will have been permanently relocated to in future. (I just hope they leave a forwarding address…) For this reason, I’m ashamed of myself.
Ashamed that I even care, ashamed that I waste my time and thoughts worrying about something so superficial, ashamed that despite the fact I know it is the baby that matters and not my future flabby tummy, I STILL can’t help but have a minor freak out about it.
As a result, I’m practicing a lot of self-love lately. I’ve been working hard to absorb adoring compliments from my husband, enjoy the curve of my new belly as I rub my hand over it, embrace the pregnancy glow, and contemplate the wonders of the life that my body is currently giving.
In between all the positive self-talk, I’ve been really starting to delve into excited daydreams about what my life with my very own precious baby will look like. Granted, those daydreams often veer into nightmares of mind-numbing sleep deprivation, temper tantrums, sore nipples and feeding drama, diaper blowouts, and ear-splitting colicky screams… But, for the most part, I’m feeling really ready to embrace this momentous new chapter in our lives.
I’m also eager to finally get my key… What key, you ask? Why, the key to the top secret “Motherhood club”!
Don’t deny that there IS one. There’s a top secret “Wife” club too, which I’m still relishing my membership in. But I have spent my fair share of years being childless and condescended to by those who are W.C. (With Children). No offense to Mothers everywhere, but it’s true, and any woman without children who’s been in a room with Mothers can attest to it! And now, I anticipate at last being able to truly participate in those spirited and camaraderie building gab sessions.
I’m now 19 weeks pregnant, and I still can’t quite believe it’s real. I’m even getting the beginnings of an authentic belly to prove it, but it’s been hard for me to visualize this whole experience as being legitimate and permanent.
There is so much to worry about in the first trimester, and just making it to Week 12 is like the holy grail, never mind that after there are still no guarantees! Cue the anxiety over all the things that can go wrong. But, I’m embracing all the weeks and days I have had with this little bean thus far, and am doing my best to stay the course and visualize the healthy, bouncing baby at the end of it all.
The best news? Soon enough, I WILL be a Mother, and I simply cannot wait!
Edited to add:
Shannon will be finding out the gender at a party tonight held just for this special occasion!
Look at a couple of the cute things she will be doing with her guests before the thrilling news is revealed!